Novak Djokovic has scripted one of the best Tennis comebacks of recent times to win Wimbledon and the US Open back to back.
After having completed the career slam at the French Open in 2016(when he also became only the 3rd player ever to hold all 4 grand slams at the same time), Djokovic was at the pinnacle of his powers.
He had achieved everything that he had set out to achieve and that was probably where complacency set in for the Serb. He had already made a mark for himself in an era where the Tennis fraternity wasn’t ready to look beyond Federer and Nadal; he had made a dent in the Tennis universe and he somehow lost motivation to strive for more.
It was a time of contemplation for Novak, as he was struggling with injuries and his will to compete on the Tennis circuit. An elbow injury last year meant that Novak had decided to take time off the circuit and returned only in Melbourne, putting up a good show, but nowhere good enough to be the best in the world.
But Novak was coming up to steam with the ATP circuit, playing all tournaments possible on clay and going deep into them. However, a shock quarter-finals loss to Marco Cecchinato meant that Djokovic needed to regroup again.
The comeback wasn’t the fairytale one that he had visualised. He wanted some more perspective, some more motivation in order to get back to where he belonged.
After winning the US Open, Djokovic spoke about a 5 day mountain trek(to Mont Sainte-Victoire in the south of France) that he took with his family in order to regroup and reassess his life and career.
Djokovic feels that that trip helped him immensely in his bid to return to the summit of the Tennis world.
“We sat down and we just looked at the world from that perspective,” he said, as quoted by BBC.
“I breathed in the new inspiration, new motivation. I thought of tennis, thought of the emotion that tennis provokes in me.
“It was all positives. I just felt like I had a new breath for this sport.
“The rest is history in terms of results. I played finals of Queen’s, won Wimbledon, won Cincinnati, and won US Open. I guess we’ll be hiking some more very soon.
“I strongly recommend you to climb it. Some great things will happen in your life.” he added.
With the US Open win, Djokovic is now tied with Sampras for 14 grand slam titles and has a realistic chance of surpassing both Nadal and Federer.
Djokovic was ecstatic to have equalled Sampras’ record as he grew up watching Sampras play.
“There is a lot of significance of me being now shoulder to shoulder with Sampras,” Djokovic said.
“The first thing I saw related to tennis on the TV was his first or second Wimbledon championship. That inspired me to start playing tennis.
“I grew up playing and thinking that one day I’ll be able to do what he does.
“To actually be here, it’s a dream come true.” he added.
Speaking about Federer and Nadal, the former World no.1 said that the rivalry that the three shared helped him become a better player.
“Maybe 10 years ago I would say I’m not so happy to be part of this era with Nadal and Federer. Actually today I am. I really am,” he said.
“The rivalries with these guys, the matches with Federer and Nadal, have shaped me into the player I am today.
“We have pushed each other to the limit every time we get to play each other.” he added.
Djokovic was in disbelief of having achieved what he had this season, especially after coming back on tour after a long injury layoff and have suffered multiple defeats in the initial few months.
He also warned his opponents by saying that he felt he was on a whole new level now.
“If you told me in February this year when I got the surgery that I’ll win Wimbledon, US Open, and Cincinnati, it would be hard to believe,” he said.
“But at the same time there was always part of me that imagined and believed and hoped that I can get back on the desired level of tennis very soon.
“Life showed me that it takes time for good things; it takes time to really build them. The last two months have been terrific.
“I feel like I’m on a whole new level. Winning Wimbledon and US Open is hard to believe.” he concluded.
Do you think Novak can go onto beat Federer and Nadal’s grand slam record?